This past weekend the photo sharing website rolled out a cool new feature. They have partnered with Amazon S3 to offer a new SmugVault feature.
So what is SmugVault? SmugVault is an interface built into the Smugmug site that allows you to back up your photos (and all types of documents) to servers located in Amazon Data Centres around the world. This is a great way to have offsite backups of your photos and important documents.
The cost of the service is not free however it is not that expensive. There is a 1.00 USD per month charge and then charges based on your usage. It costs .22 cents per Gigabyte per month to store your data on Amazons servers. There is also bandwidth charges of .30 per GB to transfer into Amazon and .50 per GB to download from Amazon.
Your data is accessible from any browser that you can access your Smugmug account from. If you think of the cost of these services vs. doing the backup yourself there can be considerable savings. An external drive can cost about 100.00 – 120.00 for 500 GB. In addition you have to maintain it and pay for power to keep it running. If you fill that you have to buy another drive. If you want to do offsite storage with it you have to take it somewhere safe and store it. Your cost for the storage itself is about .20 per GB as a one time charge until the drive fills up. In addition if you are away form home you can’t access your documents unless you have set up a method of accessing your home computer. Although we recommend that you store important documents in at least two places for backup purposes (Computer and external Hard Drive).
For a little more you can have your data stored in secure data centres which protects it in case of catastrophe at your home.
Anyone can sign up to use the Amazon S3 service at a cheaper rate however you have to design your own interface to the service. There are other ways of getting the services cheaper via other offerings. Personally I use Jungledisk (http://www.jungledisk.com) to interface with S3. Please watch here for a review of the Jungledisk service in the next little while.
If you are looking for a great Photo sharing service with excellent service and offerings I can’t stress enough to look at smugmug! You can save 5.00 off your first years membership by putting my coupon code (UgaKIvXVMo0Y) in the referred by box when signing up. If you want to see some of my photos at Smugmug visit, http://www.sysguyphotography.com